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Bears WR Earl Bennett's return a boost in wake of Alshon Jeffery injury

Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett is set to return from a hand injury next Monday night against the Detroit Lions. Bennett will be counted on to step up in the wake of the injury to fellow wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett is set to return from a broken left hand next Monday night when the Detroit Lions visit Soldier Field. Bennett's return comes at an opportune time, as rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is now sidelined with a broken hand of his own.

Bennett updated the media of his status after a 75-minute practice on Monday (via The Chicago Tribune):

"I got a chance to run around and catch the ball," he said. "No pain at all. We're winning, and it's tough to sit back and just watch and not be a part of the fun."

Bennett, who got off to a slow start this season before getting hurt, will take on a much larger role in the offense with Jeffery out. Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice knows how important it will be to get Bennett going:

"We need to get Earl involved because he is very versatile, can play all three positions, so we need to get him in some kind of rhythm with the quarterback," offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. "Earl is the guy that (Jay Cutler) has been throwing to the longest."

While Bennett may not have the big play potential on the outside that Jeffery has, he's a valuable third-down guy who can make tough catches across the middle. Bennett and quarterback Jay Cutler have a history going all the way back to their college days at Vanderbilt, so there's some good chemistry there.